Trump’s letter to China President Xi looks to a ‘constructive relationship’

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newstand Women walk past a news stand displaying a Chinese news magazine fronting a photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump in Beijing, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

China said on Thursday it attached great importance to China-U.S. ties after confirming it had received a letter from US President Donald Trump.

CGTN’s Jim Spellman reports.

Trump's letter to China President Xi looks to a ‘constructive relationship’

Trump's letter to China President Xi looks to a ‘constructive relationship’

China said on Thursday it attached great importance to China-U.S. ties after confirming it had received a letter from US President Donald Trump. CGTN's Jim Spellman reports.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said China commended Trump for sending Lunar New Year greetings to the Chinese people and said cooperation between the two countries was “the only option.”

“We highly appreciate President Trump’s greetings to President Xi and the Chinese people. China attaches great importance to the development of China-U.S. relations. As Chinese President Xi Jinping noted, China and the United States shoulder special and important responsibilities, and share extensive common interests in maintaining world peace and stability, and promoting global prosperity. Cooperation is the only right choice for both sides. China is willing to work with the United States to uphold the principle of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation to expand cooperation, control disparities and push forward the China-U.S. relations to make a greater progress on the basis of a healthy and stable relationship,” said Lu.

Trump sent the letter to President Xi Jinping on Wednesday saying he looked forward to developing a “constructive relationship,” a White House press release stated.

The letter also thanked Xi for his congratulatory note on Trump’s inauguration and wished the Chinese people a prosperous Year of the Rooster.

It is Trump’s first direct communication with the Chinese leader since he took office. This came after Trump’s phone conversations with world leaders including Russian President Vladimir Putin, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Trump was tough on China during the presidential campaign, accusing the country of stealing American manufacturing jobs. He labeled China a currency manipulator and threatened to impose tariffs on Chinese products if it doesn’t halt alleged unfair trading practices.

At one point during the campaign, Trump even made the claim that “the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”

In tweets since his presidential win, Trump has questioned the one-China principle which acknowledges the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are part of one country, and criticized China for failing to stop the DPRK’s nuclear proliferation.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis vowed to defend Tokyo’s control of the China-claimed Diaoyu Islands during last week’s visit to South Korea and Japan, while the new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has said China should be denied access to the isles in the South China Sea.

Shi Yinhong, a foreign affairs adviser to China’s cabinet and director of the Center on American Studies at Renmin University in Beijing, said Trump’s China policy hasn’t taken a clear shape yet, although all the signs so far point to a combative approach.
Beijing has sought to boost communication with Trump’s administration.

On February 1, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and granddaughter Arabella were invited to and attended a Lunar New Year reception at the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC.

Ivanka Trump and her daughter Arabella

Ivanka Trump and her daughter Arabella attend the Lunar New Year reception at the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC on February 1, 2017.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing is very happy with Ivanka Trump’s presence at the reception.

The ministry also said last week the two countries were remaining “in close touch.”

That contact has been led by China’s State Councillor Yang Jiechi, who appealed to the two sides to work on managing disputes and sensitive issues.


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